Us, ambitious women thrive on hard-work and challenges. I know because that’s me! But how often has your brain thrown a giant obstacle in your path?? Our hard-working personality is a huge contributor to our success, but it can also be one of our biggest roadblocks. Such as,
That fear of failure.
That we’re not good enough, that our only option is perfection.
And it’s paralyzing.
There ARE women out there, just like you and me;
Top-performers, hard-working and SUCCESSFUL in both their career and in health. Women who have faced (and still face) the same roadblocks as you.
And they have gotten past them. Again. And again.
These influential women are making efforts to help you (and me!) be successful in our careers, have healthy bodies, and well, live fulfilling lives!
I was eager to hear their secrets for success…
How do they do it??
And so I asked these influential women 2 questions:
- We often face roadblocks in getting the career we want or in building our own business, what was your favourite roadblock you faced and how did you get past it?
- We are often paralyzed by our own minds and the fear of failure, what do you tell yourself to get past this mental block?
I learned a great deal from these women (seriously, I couldn’t wait to implement their strategies!) and I am so grateful they have spared a few minutes from their jam-packed lives to share their advice with me and YOU!
So without further ado, here are the SUCCESS SECRETS of some of my favourite ambitious women:
- When I was writing my book. I didn’t know if I could do it. I was scared I wouldn’t succeed or that I would procrastinate and not get around to it. I set the publishing deadline and then I told everybody I knew that I was writing a book. That way, people would ask me how it was going which kept me motivated. Plus with a specific deadline, I knew I couldn’t fail because I hate missing deadlines.
I chunked up the writing. I knew that if I sat down and knew what I was going to write about, I could do 800 words in a 25 minute block (using the Pomodoro technique). I then calculated how many blocks of 800 words would make up 50,000 words. So I focused on doing 10 x 800 word blocks a week to get it done.
Also to help me, I created a book vision board which took the form of my book sitting on my bookshelf alongside my favourite authors. I even wrote out the book reviews I imagined I would get to add to my vision board.
Know what your end goal is. Break it down into smaller goals. Then just get started. Even if you’ve only got 5 minutes. The simple act of taking action – like writing the first line of the first page – is enough to get the action going. Action creates energy.
2. I remind myself that I have years and years of experience. That I am smart and clever. I remind myself of all the lovely things my clients have said about me (which I keep in a separate email folder). When I’m stuck I ask myself, “If I already was successful in this, what would I be doing?“, then I do that. Or I ask myself, “If I was being very brave and confident, how would I tackle this situation?”.
- Whenever I’ve seen a roadblock, my natural first reaction is to think about if I’ve done everything/have everything to deal with it. If not, I work on acquiring that. If yes, I work on overcoming the roadblock, with the fundamental belief that every problem has a solution. That’s why I haven’t generally given too much thinking into the roadblocks themselves. Most of my time is spent on developing plans to overcome the roadblocks.
2. “Are you more committed to your goals or are you more committed to your fears, Leslie?”
- A major roadblock I realized (and I believe many others realize this as well), is that things don’t happen just because you are excited about it and have a “vision”. Even if you have a plan laid out and take the necessary steps for the first few weeks, it doesn’t mean you deserve results. I think people tend to give up WAY too easily and lose sight as soon as they don’t see instant results. You need the discipline, dedication, and ambition to achieve greatness. Consistent hard work with a willingness to be vulnerable and really put yourself out there is a recipe for success if you ask me!
2. At the end of the day people are just people. Everyone is human and deals with anxiety and fear. The people who are brave enough to put themselves out there even with a high probability of failure, are the kind of people I admire and whom inspire others. We only have one life and I want to live one where I am not paralyzed and can possibly inspire someone else.
- Nearly 10 years ago, I was working in a great job that was incredibly stressful and knew I wanted to strike out and create my own coaching and consulting business. The usual roadblocks existed – marketing, customers, transition, finances, training … disappointing my current boss. The biggest roadblock was actually having the courage to make a 90 degree change in my life and quit my day job and leap into working for myself.
Even with a clear picture of what I wanted, what was on the other side of the roadblock, it didn’t help build the courage. Then I made a pros and cons list – staying in status quo vs. taking the leap. This kept it rather fuzzy for me; there were good and bad things on both sides and both had the potential to end in epic failure. I could stay working for someone else and be incredibly unhappy in my work life or I could fail at this consulting thing and have to eat mac and cheese for the rest of my life.
The one thing that really helped build the courage was imagining myself at the age of 80.
What does she want to have done?
Who is she like?
What stories does she have to tell?
What adventures has she had?
After all, at that age your future is limited and having great tales of adventure fraught with courage and failure is what you want to be able to talk about, not regrets. In my mind, I sat down next to her on the front porch as the sun was setting after a hot day. With drinks in hand, I asked her for all her wisdom and what she would do if she were me. The gift of clarity came with astounding speed and courage came alongside indecision and fear and took over captaining my ship.
10 years later, going out into the great unknown with a dream in my heart and courage at the helm was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
2. Failure is a part of life and it is one of those parts of life that no one likes. When stuck in the ‘fear of failure’ zone, I remind myself that not risking failure is also failure – to sit there and not do anything is actually a failure. If failure is imminent, why not fail in the direction of what I want rather than stay where I am?
Every action takes you somewhere and despite what we think while stuck in the fear of failure, it oftentimes is the catalyst towards what we want and creates more opportunity than we knew possible.
I have a mental ‘Top 10 Failures’ list that I go through in these situations. I remember what I wanted, how I lived through it, and what it ended up getting me in the end. I have had some glorious failures and usually the one facing me isn’t anything compared to what I have lived through in the past. And suddenly, I find myself asking, “What’s the next best step?” and taking it.
1. ‘Money mindset’ blocks have been the most common for me. I was under-charging for years and still face challenges around asking for what my services are worth, but I’ve gotten better with the help of a business coach. He helped me work through the math of the ROI I was getting for clients, as well as digging into the research around what others were charging. I avoid looking at “competition” but in this case I needed to in order to break through the block!
2. I usually think, “What’s the worst that could truly happen?” and, “If I do fail, what value will that lesson have?”. Experimenting and trying new things is a vital part of being an entrepreneur! As long as you’re not hurting others, failing is a positive thing.
- My favourite roadblock was when I lost my job in Jan 2016, I was devastated at the time but soon after I started reading a lot of self help books and I learned that things don’t happen to you, they happen for you. It was the universe’s way of getting me on the right track; on the track of my purpose. I started The Snack Society right after.
2. Fear is one of the hardest things to overcome. What helped me is reading a lot of books on this and Pema Chodron wrote a lovely book called, When Things Fall Apart. It taught me that fear is inevitable and is a part of life, we are humans and it’s okay to be scared. Feel the fear and face it and do what you have to do despite of it.
Wow! Such great advice, right?!
I know you’ll find some of these tips incredibly useful in boosting your professional success but the really cool thing is that we can use these same strategies to get fit!
Showing up every day and working hard in your professional life is very similar to getting the fit body you want. Showing up consistently and putting in the hard work of EXERCISE. (“Working-out” does have “work” right in the name!)
And with a strong and fit body comes an incredibly strong mental mindset.
Your next step:
- Pick your favourite tip (any tip!)
- Apply it to your professional life
- Then consider how you can ALSO apply it to your fitness life.
Drop a comment below on the strategy you’re most excited about to try!
(There’s a handy infographic below that you can steal, share, pin up on your wall, put in your neighbour’s mailbox; whatever!)